The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Getting past lies (or not)

Read an article in More magazine last night that talked about over-40 people getting married after previous marriages. It talked about the difference in marrying young when you're idealistic and relatively unscathed by heartbreak and disappointment, and about bringing what you've learned, the wisdom of experience, to the new marriage.

It made me sad as I reflected on what I've learned. I began to wonder if it will ever be possible for me to get past being deceived for my entire marriage, and for part of the 9 years we were together before we were married. How do you get over, past, through being lied to for years by the one person you loved and trusted most in the world?

And I thought about starting a new relationship, and how that might be easier than building something good on top of those years of lies and deception. I don't want a relationship with someone else, but I can't picture how to build the kind of connection I thought I had with someone who has betrayed me so deeply and for years. It feels like it would be easier in some ways to deal with the death of a spouse than to deal with trying to re-create a relationship after years of betrayal.

I can feel myself holding back, not trusting when he tells me he loves me (which he does frequently.) I feel like I'm hovering, waiting to see, but I don't know what I'm waiting for. I think I just have to come to terms with the fact that I'll never have what I thought I had with Husband - a relationship based on decades of love, trust, honesty and fidelity. It's like putting food coloring into water. The water will never be clear again. It might get clearer as you add more water over time, but that color will always be there forever more. Maybe in another 20 years I'll feel something approaching the same level of trust, but I don't know. Maybe it will take less time. He said last night that the irony is that I now have in him the man I thought I had before. That's a very good thing for both of us, and will be part of the foundation for anything good we build now. But the problem is, while I have the man I thought I had, I'm not the same person I was before and I don't have the relationship I thought I had before.

This is the part where I have to be willing to die again and again in order to have the life I want. It's scary.


Crystal said...

I have a question to pose in relation to lying. I am in a very similar situation as you. Unlike you though, I have not been able to rely on faith and I have been checking up on him. My husband, I know,still lies to me. Not about sexual things, but about what he was doing and where he went when he knows I would not like it.

Everything I have read has stated that in order to move forward from such devastation there must be complete transparency and honesty in the hopes of rebuilding trust. Would lying about an unrelated issue be a deal breaker for you and others reading this? Should it be?

Although I have absolutely no proof or indication of any further misconduct, I his lying about ANYTHING makes me feel that I cannot trust him in his promise to be faithful from now on.

woman.anonymous7 said...

I don't want to give advice on this blog, but because I understand the pain that results from lies I will share my thoughts regarding your question.

I believe it comes down to what you want for your life. That is a very personal decision that only you can make for yourself because only you know what you value and what will make you happy. I think about how I want to be treated, and what works for me and what doesn't, and use those things as a guideline to set my boundaries and to decide what is acceptable and what is not.

I've begun to establish definite boundaries which, if crossed, will necessitate a reassessment of my decision to stay in my relationship. This is new for me. I never felt I needed boundaries with Husband before because I wasn't aware that there was a possibility that he would treat me badly. I want to be happy in my life and I've learned that boundaries are important to that end. It's too easy for me to overlook my needs and feelings without them. I know now that I can understand almost anything, but I don't have to put up with it.

Crystal said...

I understand what you mean. But I'm curious, if you don't mind, would you personally be able to deal with lies about things unrelated to the infidelity? I'd really like to know and have not many people to talk to.

I seem to be feeling that they are tied together because it shows a general lack of character and commitment to honesty. A friend of mine told me that her husband lied to her for years about smoking when he was supposed to be trying to quit and that she had no big problem understanding that. Of course, she did not have the history we do. If he lies about one thing and it does not bother his conscience, how does one know that it won't be easy to lie about another again?

woman.anonymous7 said...

For me personally, lying does not work. I believe that people who go through life responsible for who they are in a powerful and joyful way don't lie, and that's the kind of person I want to have in my life. Period.

I believe lying is a form of denial that allows the liar to avoid the consequences of his actions. We are all flawed and perfection is not a requirement, but I'm not interested in devoting time to relationships with people who are not willing to risk living authentically, and not willing to take responsibility for the result of who they are being in the world and the impact that has on others. Husband did this, and it has caused me great pain and completely changed my life in ways that have been both devastating and enlightening. It is only because he's emerged from his deluded state, is actively dealing with his issues, and has many other outstanding qualities that I continue to be with him. Were it not for this combination of things, I don't know that I would stay. I'm unwilling to settle for a situation that promises mediocrity on any level. Life feels too brief and precious to waste like that.

That's my personal standard, based on who I am and what I want. Other people will have their own standards and values that are different from mine and right for them.

Crystal said...

Thank you very much for sharing that. You seem like a remarkable person, and your posts often speak exactly to how I am feeling. Maybe someday, you should write a book about your journey through this.